4th Sunday of the Great Paschal Fast: “Saint John, Author of the “Ladder”

Anonymous - Posted on 29 March 2020

Beloved Clergy, Faithful and Monastics:


“Christ is among us! He is and ever shall be!”


We pray our gracious God that all are in spiritual health and physical stability on this 4th Sunday of the Great Paschal Fast. On this Sunday, we commemorate, as every Sunday, the Life-giving Resurrection of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ. We remember our holy Father John, author of the book called, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” written for monastics.

This Pastoral Note is not about this book, nor its author, for we are addressing you on invoking our Orthodox greetings, “Christ is among us!” and our response, “He is and ever shall be.”


We, no not “we”, but the world, is living an experience unique to our time. Governments are struggling to control the “unseen”. We are informed about staggering, confirmed numbers of persons having the COVID-19 Virus, as well as about the growing number of cases of death. But, fear not, for “Christ is among us! He is and ever shall be!”


Our parishes are across North America in 27 States and 7 Provinces. Each is affected by decisions of local governments. We share with you the sad news that some communities are reporting to us that they have faithful with the virus. How sad. How terribly sad that these individuals came into contact with others who had the virus, and they themselves became infected; and, God forbid, may have themselves infected others. We do not know. No one knows!  We maintain that “no gathering” means no source of spreading the unseen Virus.


Our decision to close our churches remains in effect. We do not meet to celebrate together the Eucharist. Yes! We cannot yet embrace one another. Yes! In time, we meet as the Body of Christ to receive the Holy Eucharist and say in person those reassuring words of greeting. But even now, we can continue to greet one another, “Christ is among us! He is and ever shall be!” Let us say them often to one another when we speak via telephone, skype, text message, just as we soon will greet each other for forty days,  and ever: “Christ is risen! Truly, he is risen!


With paternal concern and love in Christ,


+NATHANIEL, Archbishop